Client A approached Jonathan Bridge of Farleys Solicitors in March of 2021, when she was nearly 32 years of age, in relation to a potential claim against Calderdale Council.

She had been born and brought up in the Calderdale area and had had a difficult childhood.

Client A was taken into the care of the Local Authority at the age of 13. She passed through various foster placements and children’s homes. She was groomed and abused by gangs of men, primarily in the Halifax, Huddersfield, and Bradford areas. The abuse went on for several years and left the Claimant with a long-term psychiatric injury.

Client A reported that she had tried to box away her feelings and ignore what had happened. But eventually, it became too great a problem for her, and she began to work with the police in bringing the perpetrators to justice. She was later involved in various criminal trials as a witness for the prosecution.

Jonathan Bridge agreed to act on her behalf in a damages claim, and a Letter of Claim was forwarded to the Local Authority, who appointed solicitors to defend the claim.

The immediate issue was limitation. Farleys specialise in claims of this nature for victims of Child Sexual Exploitation. This is one of the oldest cases that Farleys have progressed to a successful settlement, with the Claimant being over ten years out of time in bringing her claim. An immediate moratorium was agreed in relation to limitation, and the Claimant put forward good reasons as to why she could not have progressed the claim sooner.

In order to investigate the claim further, applications were made for various sets of records, particularly social services records, which ran to over 4,500 pages. The specialist team at Farleys reviewed these records to pinpoint the areas where social services had failed Client A.

In addition to the difficulties with limitation, the case was complex in relation to liability and causation. The Defendants argued that the Claimant began to suffer grooming and abuse before she came into their care, and therefore, her injuries may have arisen regardless of their alleged failings. Further arguments were raised such that the Claimant’s health may have been poor regardless of the abuse that she suffered and that this may have prevented her from working in any event.

The Defendants made an initial offer to settle the claim in the sum of £25,000, which was rejected.

Expert evidence was sought from a leading Adult Psychiatrist. Evidence was also collated to establish a loss of earnings claim. The Claimant had progressed in a successful career before a significant deterioration in her mental health forced her to give up work for a period.

Justin Levinson of Counsel, who specialises in this area of work, was instructed by Farleys and provided advice in conference. Based on his advice, a detailed Schedule of Loss was prepared to include claims for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity, past and future loss of earnings, and treatment costs.

The Defendants put forward a revised offer of £160,000, which was again rejected.

Following further negotiation, the Defendants were eventually persuaded to increase the settlement proposal to £215,000. Farleys have managed to secure two interim payments for the Claimant, which meant that she would still receive a net balance of £200,000 on conclusion of the claim.

This is thought to be one of the biggest ever settlements against a Local Authority for a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation by gangs.

Commenting on the case, Client A said,

I have genuinely found Jonathan very easy to work with. He has been brilliant with me throughout the process, taking his time to explain in detail at each stage what I could expect to happen next. He is calm, extremely knowledgeable, and always remains highly professional whilst being easy to talk to. He kept me up to date with the progression of my case and was always available to answer any questions or queries I had.

Now that Jonathan has achieved such a great result for me, I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel and start my new peaceful life, with a head start this time. I cannot thank Jonathan enough for all his hard work and getting me the result, he has done.

Jonathan Bridge dealt with the case throughout and commented,

“We are pleased to have achieved an excellent result for our client in this case. We deal with many victims of grooming gangs, and the damage caused is often irreparable. But at least a significant financial settlement will allow our client to get the treatment she needs and give her some financial stability as she moves forward. With the conclusion of this claim and the criminal proceedings, we hope that she can start afresh.”

If you would like to discuss the possibility of pursuing an abuse claim, our specialists can assist. We know it can be difficult to talk about your experiences, so whenever you’re ready, we can be contacted either through our dedicated abuse line on 0330 134 6430, by email, or through the online chat below for a confidential chat about your claim.